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3 soft skills that are most wanted in Singapore

Focusing on technical or hard skills is not enough, and soft skills are essential, said a senior IAL researcher.

Group of Singaporeans working in a co-working office, illustrating a story on soft skills needed in the Singapore workforce.
The top three most in-demand soft skills in the Singapore workforce are self-management, influence and creative thinking, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL). (PHOTO: Getty) (Carlina Teteris via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – The top three most in-demand core skills – or soft skills – in the Singapore workforce are "self-management", "influence" and "creative thinking", according to a study conducted by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL).

The results of the survey, released on Tuesday (11 March), also listed "global perspective", "building inclusivity" and "developing people" as the three least important skills.

"In today's rapidly evolving employment landscape, focusing on technical or hard skills is not enough. As Singapore adopts a dynamic posture in lifelong learning, it is critical that we also look into the development of critical core skills to support our workforce transformation," Dr Bi Xiaofang, senior researcher at IAL, said. "These soft skills are essential in helping the workforce remain adaptable, agile and competitive amid changing work environments."

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The Critical Core Skills (CCS) Profiling survey was conducted from September 2021 to January 2022 in Singapore, and it involved more than 2,000 employed Singapore residents between the ages of 20 and 70.

The survey focused on the CCS, identified by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and consisting of 16 soft skills grouped into three clusters. The purpose of the CCS was to establish a common skills language for individuals, employers and training providers, which can aid in recognising skills and designing training programmes for career development.

Additionally, the CCS aims to promote deep skills development for a lean workforce, enhance business competitiveness, and support employment and employability.

In addition to finding out about the demographics of individuals, IAL's survey questionnaire covered the importance and self-efficacy (confidence) in using CCS by converting SkillsFuture Singapore's CCS framework into different task statements as survey items.

For this study, IAL grouped all occupations into seven different work contexts or clusters based on the common core skills utilised within each cluster. The results show the most important CCS for different groups, and the CCS that can be further developed.

Common Core Skills of each cluster.
Common Core Skills of each cluster. (TABLE: IAL) (IAL)

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